REAL ESTATE news
Sales of existing homes slipped 0.7 percent in July, fourth straight monthly decline
Lower priced homes are experiencing fewer price reductions than upper end properties
Home value growth slowing in several hot markets
MORTGAGE & FINANCE news
Young homebuyers funding home down payment from their retirement account
Massive student debt makes homeownership almost impossible
Guide to understanding your home’s value
Declutter your kitchen and double your storage space
Questions to ask before buying a condo
Buyers see hope on the horizon in cooling Seattle market
Seattle-area drops to the #12 market for home price growth
Home price acceleration slows, but it’s still a challenge if you’re a buyer
Seattle #2 on list of best cities for ice cream lovers
Performing arts and affordable housing come together in planned Rainier Valley development
The SR-99 tunnel gets its stripes (and some running stick figures)
Port of Everett breaks ground on huge and historic modernization project
Where do Washington State’s billionaires live?
WEEKLY DOSE OF awesomeness
What do the smart home systems of the wealthy have that Alexa doesn’t?
(hint: Morgan Freeman)
The weather is ugly today so sitting here working on client files my mind started to wander to all the great things, activities and adventure that can be found in our great state and especially here in Snohomish County. So join me in checking out some ideas for fun stuff to do to either get out of the rain or have fun in it!
KIRKLAND, Washington (October 5, 2015) – Scarce inventory, new rules for mortgage closings and affordability concerns will likely slow home sales around Western Washington during the remaining months of 2015 and into early 2016, according to spokespersons from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The latest statistics from the MLS show a double-digit drop in inventory, a double-digit jump in closed sales, and a near double-digit increase in prices from a year ago, prompting one industry leader to say the trends aren’t sustainable. “We simply can’t sustain double-digit increases in sales when inventory levels continue to drop every month,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “We’re on the cusp of a housing market slowdown,” he predicts.
Northwest MLS director Darin Stenvers also expects a slowdown, pointing to new rules for mortgage closings and rising interest rates as culprits.
“With the introduction of the new TRID(1) banking and closing disclosure requirements we will see longer closing timeframes for the foreseeable future. This will lead to a slowdown in closings and thus may slow the market until early or mid-2016,” explained Stenvers, the office managing broker at John L. Scott in Bellingham. Layoffs and the possibility of higher interest rates result in unpredictability for both buyers and sellers, he suggested.
Despite an expected slowdown, closed sales through the first nine months of this year are running 16.6 percent ahead of the same period a year ago, with median prices up 9.2 percent.
The MLS report for September shows pending sales continue to outnumber new listings, resulting in inventory declines in most of the 23 counties in its service area. That imbalance leads to rising prices.
Northwest MLS members reported 9,574 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) in September for a 7.9 percent increase from the year-ago figure of 8,875. Compared to August, pending sales fell 9.7 percent.
Closed sales jumped 17.5 percent, with year-over-year sales rising from 7,020 finished transactions to 8,245. Twenty of the 23 counties reported double-digit gains from a year ago.
Prices showed more variation. Area-wide, the median price on last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos was $312,000. That’s up nearly 9.5 percent from the year-ago figure of $285,000, but down slightly from August.
Compared to the system-wide gain, prices rose at more modest rates in three of the four counties in the Puget Sound region, with Pierce County being the exception. Year-over-year prices there jumped 11 percent. Prices in Kitsap County were up only 4 percent from a year ago; in King County the gain was about 4.8 percent and in Snohomish County it was about 7.5 percent.
Single family home prices across the 23 counties in the MLS report rose nearly 7.6 percent from a year ago, from $297,500 to $320,000. Single family homes in King County commanded the highest median price at $490,250, up 6.6 percent from the year-ago figure of $460,000, but down from June’s high of $500,000.
The condo market remained hot with both sales and prices up by double digits. Members reported 1,183 closed sales during September for a gain of nearly 30 percent from a year ago. Prices on last month’s sales jumped 13 percent, from $230,000 to $260,000.
“We’re coming off one of the hottest summer housing markets on record, and the second-best September on record for sales activity in the four-county area,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. He attributes part of the surge to an interest rates drop in May, and the anticipation of rates increasing in the near future.
Dwindling inventory continues to be a drag on activity, but some brokers believe new construction activity is encouraging. Stenvers said new housing starts could help boost inventory in many markets during the coming months.
For now, new listings are drawing “quick action” when they come on the market, said Scott, adding, “We are virtually sold out of inventory.”
MLS members added 8,772 new listings during September, down slightly from the year ago total of 8,878. At month end, there were 19,724 active listings in the database, down 23.3 percent from the same time a year ago when inventory totaled 25,717 properties.
“We’re selling everything before buyers can turn around,” commented Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma and a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors. Figures showing the ratio of listings to sales, known as months of supply, tend to support his belief.
For September, the MLS reported 2.39 months of supply system-wide, about the same as the figure for August. The shortages were most acute in King County, with about 1.4 months of supply, and Snohomish County, with about 1.9 months of supply. Industry experts use a range of four-to-six months as an indicator of a balanced market.
“The frenzied market on the Seattle side is taking a toll on Kitsap home prices,” said MLS chairman Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo. Prices there rose 4 percent from a year ago. He reported good traffic at open houses in Kitsap County, quick acting buyers when a new listing appears, many multiple offer situations, and an increase in investor interest.
“Since new listings coming to market usually slow during the fourth quarter, we are looking at a severe shortage of inventory heading in to the spring market of 2016,” Wilson remarked. Like others on the MLS board, he said serious buyers need to be prepared to take immediate action when they find a home they like.
“In preparation, buyers need to meet with a lender, find an inspector, check with their insurance agent, and get their financial house in order so they can move aggressively,” Wilson advised.
Scott said house-hunters who procrastinate may be disappointed. “If you’re looking for a home this winter, the number of listings coming on the market each month will drop approximately 50 percent every 30 days compared to spring and summer months,” he predicts.
Brokers say opportunities still exist for buyers who have missed out on homes during multiple offer situations.
Some buyers who are weary of bidding wars are looking in areas where multiple offers are less common, said MLS director George Moorhead. Also, buyers who consider homes that have been on the market more than 120 days are negotiating much better terms without the competition of other buyers,” he reported.
Scott also recommended alternatives for frustrated buyers. “There are still opportunities to take advantage of low interest rates by taking a second look at homes that have been on the market for more than a month. If you don’t mind doing some fix up, you can negotiate the price and avoid multiple offer scenarios,” he stated.
Beeson suggested inventory shortages could be eased if expired listings are re-listed. Not every home sells once it’s listed, he noted. His analysis shows more than 2,600 listings have expired in the tri-county area so far this year. “These are sellers who need coaching on pricing,” he believes.
Even though they’ll face longer commutes, Moorhead said buyers who are feeling squeezed by the lack of inventory are extending their search areas farther than before in hopes of finding a home at an affordable price. These buyers hope to sell the home in the outlying area within five years and purchase another home closer in. “This calculated move hasn’t really been a conversation in the past,” said Moorhead, the designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties in Bothell.
Bobbie Chipman, principal managing broker at John L. Scott’s Puyallup office, said statistics strongly indicate buyers must be strategic in the current market in order to be successful. “If buyers have a home to sell in order to purchase, they should consider selling, then prepare to live in temporary housing while looking for the right home to purchase,” she suggested.
Buyers without a home to sell may be better positioned to have their offer accepted, believes Chipman, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors. “These buyers should look at both active status listings and contingent listings to expand their choices,” she explained.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.
(1) TRID is the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule that became effective 10/3/15. New forms are required for any transaction involving a mortgage. See: TRID.
Statistical Summary By Counties
Market Activity Summary and 4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (PDF)
This information provided by the NWMLS.
The other day as I was driving my sons to school, my middle son was complaining that he hated this time of year and the cold and rain. He said he wished we could move from our home in Snohomish County to Arizona where Grandpa and Grandma are now and where it’s always sunny and warm (when he was younger he use to say Arizona was “shiny”) My youngest piped in and said “Oh no you better think about this! You know how mom is always saying get outside and blow some stink off? If we lived in Arizona we would never get to play XBox!
As I smiled in the front seat and tried to contain my laughter I thought yes, Arizona is nice and I do love the sunshine but, I think in the Pacific Northwest we appreciate the sun more. We search for outside activities for when it is nice outside, regardless of the time of year, so we can run out and enjoy the beauty this great state of Washington has to offer.
So I say to all of you- Go outside and blow some stink off!
And here is a great list of ideas and links from parks to hikes and everything in between.
Want more? How about the Best of Western Washington winners? For ideas on where to eat, shop and play? Check these locals out and it will be sure to be a wonderous fall!
Its warming up around here so go and have some fun out there! Here are a few great links to get you started.
Today on Facebook a local neighbor said a carpet cleaning truck came to her door and tried the door handle. She of course was freaked out and locked the door very quickly.
Hence the title of today’s blog.
This mom happens to be in one of my son’s Boy Scout troops so I am sure I would have heard about it but what if your not facebook friends or in the local sports and activity groups?
Here is a neat new neighborhood tool NextDoor.com that I recommend checking out. In today’s age of social media what a great way to connect with your neighbors. Look out for each other and help to keep the neighborhood safe. Organize events, find out who the babysitters are, referrals for everything from electricians, plumbers and your neighborhood Real Estate Agent (Okay, I had to put that in there). We don’t all live in HOA’s where there ‘s a home owner website so this empowers us to all be involved and protect ourselves and our kids.
Another great neighborhood tool – Crime Mapping http://www.crimemapping.com/
Is also from the above mom that inspired today’s blog. She mentioned it one day and I thought what a great tool for my home-buyers and especially for my relocation families. I know the great neighborhoods and is where my expertise comes in but, this shows so much more than I can tell you. Crimes, nuisances and suspicious activity in the area. If it was reported you can see it. You can set it up to be from .25-2 mile radius and even check what crimes you want to be notified about. Then once a week you get an email. I set ours up around our house and it was a bit surprising to see the neighborhood mischief going on. Luckily I was relieved and nothing major but very interesting and a bit addicting too.
I hope you find these sites interesting. Let me know what you think and please let me know of other sites you may know of or use. I would love to share.
Stay Safe Everyone!
As a Real Estate Broker I was very curious this morning on how the Government shut down may effect all of us and of course concerned. I was also wondering how this may effect my in process buyers and my sellers looking for pre-approved buyers. Below is an update that I received from one of the lenders I work with and wanted to get out to everyone that is in the middle of purchasing a home, starting the loan process or considering purchasing a home.
At this time here is how the shutdown will affect Home loans.
The biggest problem is that every loan needs a 4506T which is verification from the IRS to confirm the buyer’s income tax filings over the last two years. Since the IRS is not working, we will be held up from closing if the 4506T has not yet been processed. For our loans in process this usually gets ordered very early in the process and is then out of the way. If it has not been ordered yet then we can do it late in the transaction but we need the IRS to get back to work before we can receive the results of the 4506T form.
USDA is also a problem because we need their approval before closing these loans and they are not working during the shut down.
HUD / FHA: The FHA should not be significantly impacted, providing the shutdown is brief. HUD has provided the following information that applies to our daily operations:
FHA will be able to endorse single family loans, however, only a limited number of FHA staff will be available, so the process may take longer.
Should FHA run out of commitment authority during a shutdown, then all lenders’ Lender Insurance approval will be temporarily suspended.
VA: Continue originating VA loans; the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue to operate if there is a government shutdown.
Rural Housing / USDA:
1) On Friday 9/27, USDA Rural Development issued notice that the existing eligible areas will be preserved until further notice. This is good news! When the Continuing Resolution (CR) passes the eligible areas will remain eligible through the expiration of the CR allowing congress and others more time to find a permanent solution.
2) Regarding the CR, now that the government is partially shut down, the USDA employees have been furloughed – Conditional Commitments and Loan Note Guarantees won’t be processed. If it’s a short shutdown then the impact should be minimal, if at all. If it’s an extended shutdown then this will affect turn-times, lock expiration’s, and purchase contracts because Conditional Commitments won’t be issued.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
The IRS has indicated that they will not process any forms, including the issuance of tax return transcripts (Form 4506T) during a government shutdown, which will delay loan processing.
We will keep you informed as we learn more about the government shutdown and its implications on the mortgage and Real Estate industry.
If you are thinking of relocating to Snohomish County or already live here but curious about the demographics in your area then check this out! Also great for Boeing employees relocating to Washington State. Perfect to bring you up to speed with the different cities.
You can put in any zip code not just Snohomish County- ANYWHERE. Very informational with school statistics, basic information and you can even compare stats. Thinking of moving from Everett to Mukilteo? Than compare. Want to see a colorful map of Millcreek demographics or a Map of Snohomish County? Check it out. Very simple.
If your considering a move you need to check out site! Get my zip!